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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 30, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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it came out that the legislation wasn't approved that i wasn't going away, and clearly i wasn't joking. >> erica lafferty gets tonight's last word. thank you very much for joining us tonight, erica, and i'm very, very sorry for your loss. >> thank you. thank you. >> thanks, erica. chris hayes is up next. stop the guillotine. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. there are people in this country, believe it or not, who believe the best way to get rich people to work harder is to give them tax benefits. that the best way to get the poor to work harder is to cut their benefits. got it? give the carrot to the better off, give the stick to the worse off. and so in america today the
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guillotine is coming down on programs to get meals to the elderly. give a head start to the young who need it most. and as that guillotine comes down again and again, the well-off enjoy a government that looks out for them. in fact, races to look out for them. making sure that their flights arrive on time. even as the poor worry about the next meal they know isn't coming at all. will the president be able to stop this way of government, or is he, his party and the republican, stuck in so much political mud they'll never get free? michael steele was chairman of the republican party, now an msnbc political analyst. bob shrum. a democratic strategist. first of all, president obama made clear republicans in congress are the roadblock as he sees it to solving america's problems. he opened the door to an interesting way to lure them
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into cooperation. the phrase was, permission structure. i was taken with this. let's see if you are. let's listen. >> there are common sense solutions to our problems right now. i cannot force republicans to embrace those common sense solutions. i can urge them to. i can put pressure on them. i can, you know, rally the american people around those, you know, those common sense solutions. but ultimately they, themselves, are going to have to say, we want to do the right thing. and i think there are members, certainly, in the senate right now, and i suspect members in the house as well, who understand that deep down, but they're worried about their politics. it's tough. their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. they're worried about primaries. and i understand all that. and we're going to try to do everything we can to create a
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permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country. >> so the question from all, a few good men, can the president tell the truth to the american people like he just did then and admit the simple fact he can't twist arms on capitol hill, he can want -- can't defeat people in primaries. the only way a republican is going to lose a primary, as he says, is by talking to him. those are the facts. and then the question is, bob, what's a permission structure? because that phrase just jumped out at me. is there a way to get the republicans to the table and end this sequestration, this putting all the problems of the people, the american people, on to the poorest people? >> i doubt it, but i know what he means by permission structure. the permission structure he
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wants to create is one where he steps back. where maybe people in the senate negotiate some kind of compromise on sequestration. just as, for example, they've done on immigration. because the problem is, if he endorsed something mitt romney was for in 2012, the republicans in the house, especially, are likely to be against it. so the permission structure has to let the process move forward without having the president's fingerprints or face all over it. i think he's willing to do that. i think it succeeded at several points earlier this year. but on the sequestration, it's tough. what amazes me is the republicans, the party of national defense, the party that has always favored a strong defense, is willing to see defense take draconian cuts, is willing to see elderly people go without meals on wheels to
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protect, for example, the loophole that lets hedge fund billionaires, it's called carried interest, pay only 13% on their taxes. there ought to be a way to compromise here. take up some of the ideas, for example, that romney offered in 2012, make them part of the mix. take some of what the democrats have offered and i think you can get to a deal. >> what's the deal from your side, michael? what would be your permission structure? >> i didn't understand exactly what the president was saying when he quoted that term, but in context, and understanding later in talking to folks, it really means giving the republicans the room they need to separate themselves from that part of the base that may be more exercised about working with the president. number one. i think, though, the permission structure kind of runs both
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ways. i think we see it on issues like gun control for harry reid and some senate democrats. i think you certainly see it on the tax question for a lot of republicans. i think the president may have something here that may work for both sides. >> michael, hasn't he already given -- he said he's going to do chained cpi, he's going to cut medicare. he's made a lot of concessions. republicans have not matched him once. >> but that's not negotiating. you haven't gotten into -- >> he gave them what they -- >> no, he has not given us what we want. you say, i put this in the budget. that's not the final deal. his base as you've seen on chain cpi, the reaction to chained cpi was just as volatile as the reaction was from the base, my base, on -- >> you're saying he can't deliver? >> i'm not saying he can't
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deliver. he may be on to something in delivering -- >> what we have now is a growing, growing, creaking of the federal government. the president outlined the across the board spending cuts are causing the country and his own frustration. congress took action only when flight delays were causing inconvenience to flying passengers. let's listen. >> it slowed our growth. it's resulting in people being thrown out of work. and it's hurting folks all across the country. and the fact that congress responded to the short-term problem of flight delays by giving us the option of shifting money that's designed to repair and improve airports over the long term, to fix the short-term problem, well that's not a solution. >> then abc followed up there rather quickly and asked, why did you sign it, why did you go along with saving the airplanes,
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the faa? here he is answering that tough question. >> the alternative, of course, is either to go ahead and impose a whole bunch of delays on passengers now, which also does not fix the problem, or the third alternative is to actually fix the problem by coming up with a broader, larger deal. but, you know, jonathan, you've seemed to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. that's their job. >> well, that's what probably drives the republicans on the hill crazy, right, michael? it's my job as daddy, if you will, or mommy, to make them behave, because the president under our constitution doesn't control -- okay. >> clinton had to do it. trying to get welfare reform. reagan had to do it. >> he signed a republican --
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>> why are you so hellbent on giving this president a pass? >> i'm just not giving you one. i'm not going to give you nothing. the fact is, michael, you tried to slip one past me. >> i'm not slipping one past you. >> bill clinton because he was running for re-election had to sign on to a pretty conservative welfare reform bill he wouldn't have written himself. right before the '96 election. it was a republican bill, first of all. this president is trying to get republicans to meet him in the middle. >> which he vetoed three times and finally came to the table on it. the reality of it is -- >> my point. >> -- this president needs to do less excuse making and whining than leading. that's what he needs to do here. >> congress controls the pursestrings under our constitution. it's controlled by the tea party
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republicans. boehner is sort of like their chief waiter up there. he sort of serves the tea party. >> then why do we need democrats in congress at all? >> he can't do it. >> why do we need democrats in congress at all? get rid of all the democrats then you can blame the entire party for every ill in the country. >> no, just the majority. >> yeah. >> just the majority. >> you're so funny. >> the problem we have now, bob, and this is the problem of people who ticket split. if you're going to vote for the president of one party and vote for the congress of one party, this is what you're going to come up against. if you tend to like the conservatives in the government because you vote that way in the house races who say we're not going to do this, not going to raise taxes, we're only going to cut poor people's programs.
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then you vote for a president who has a totally different point of view, you get log jams like this. nothing is happening except this guillotine coming down on their necks of everybody who's poor right now. >> well, i think that's true, and look, the democrats actually won the vote for the house by 1.6 million votes. they lost the house because of the gerrymandering. i was going to agree earlier with michael that this is a two-way street. >> come on, bob. >> i was going to agree earlier, i was going to agree earlier with michael this is a two-way street. >> back it up, bob. move on. move on. >> no, no, the democrats won the vote for the house. >> move on. >> michael, if you allocated electoral votes in pennsylvania according to congressional districts, mitt romney would have gotten most of them after the president carried the state.
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>> woulda, shoulda, coulda. >> i want to get to chris's bigger point. because you keep trying to say somehow or other the president ought to be blamed here. what has to be blamed here is the republican house that will not make a deal. ronald reagan made a deal on tax reform. lyndon johnson made a deal on medicare. those days are gone. any deal the president tries to make gets opposed in the house. the only way we've gotten anything passed this year, anything significant, is for john boehner to break the rule that a bill can't come to the floor without a majority of the majority. we can get out of sequestration. there are enough republican votes in the house combined with almost every democrat to pass a deal. same thing is true on immigration reform. but i don't think we're going to get any of those things if you
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have to have a situation where republicans as a party in the house have to all agree on this. >> let's go to the bottom line. numbers, numbers, numbers. the house is controlled by republicans. primarily because -- certainly jerry mandering plays a part. primarily because the democratic party sweeps the big cities about 90-10. all those votes, the 40% they don't need don't get counted in how we get elected to congress. the republicans win 60-40 in their districts. democrats win 90-10 in theirs. that's why you have this disproportionate representation. let's go to this question of immigration. because here i think the president is playing for the win. >> yep. >> i don't think he's playing politics here. i don't think he's going to have
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well the last question president obama answered in his press conference today was the one he seemed happiest to answer. about the nba star jason collins who yesterday became the first active male athlete in any major american team sport to announce that he's gay. >> for an individual who's excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go ahead and say this is who i am, i'm proud of it, i'm still a great competitor, i'm still 7 feet tall and can bang with shaq
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and, you know, deliver a hard foul, i think a lot of young people out there who, you know, are -- you know, are gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who's unafraid, i think it's a great thing. >> i think this is important because the president phoned collins yesterday before the press conference to tell him personally how proud he is of him. by the way, think of all the young teenage kids now, boys and girls, for whom this is going to be very important to hear. and we'll be right back. great . it's been that way since the day you met. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain,
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what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. we don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened. if we end up rushing to judgment without hard, effective evidence, then we can find ourselves in a position where we can't mobilize the international community to support what we do. >> welcome back to "hardball." late today the "washington post" reports, in fact, just did, the
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white house was preparing to send lethal weaponry to the syrian opposition. but earlier today president obama seemed to be trying to slow the rush to war by some on the right. almost in lockstep, by the way, the hawks and the neocons have argued we must take some kind of military action in syria or else risk looking squeamish to the iranians. it's a dangerous line of thinking, i think, especially since there are so few good options available in syria. create a no-fly zone. that could be costly and potentially a risky operation. arm the rebels? we may be doing that now. who exactly are the rebels? who do we give the weapons to? "the new york times" reported over the weekend, for example, the overwhelming strength of the fighting force is actually made up of the most extreme groups. some of whom have ties to al qaeda.
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do we give them weapons? what option does that leave us in the united states? what does that end up being? a treaty, perhaps? bashar al assad in russia? both of those outcomes seem unlikely. the war drums are out there. can they be silenced by action from the president? richard haass, president of council on foreign relations, author of brand-new book "foreign policy begins at home." and robin wright is a scholar at the united states institute of peace which i just drove by yesterday. a beautiful building. look at what the "washington post" is reporting late this afternoon. "president obama is preparing to send lethal weaponry to the syrian opposition and has taken steps to assert more aggressive u.s. leadership among allies and partners seeking the ouster of bashar al assad. according to senior administration officials." they did not say what equipment is being considered. robin wright, your thoughts on that? it's a limited bit of information. it could be rifles, could be grenades. who knows. >> i suspect at this point there is a very small quantity or very small type of weaponry. the real problem is a quarter
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century after we armed the mujahide,n, we are still buying back parts of stinger missiles and there's a real concern about we you arm any faction, how can you control and prevent those arms from going to other militias, being sold to other people, other parties, and extremist groups in syria? there's a real concern. >> charlie wilson's war became osama bin laden's war. with the same weapons. >> absolutely. the idea of a no-fly zone also is full of problems. look at when we were in iraq, we were there in a no-fly zone for over five years and took a another ten-year war to get saddam hussein out of power. the idea a no-fly zone is going to be decisive in any rapid way in changing the dynamics on the ground, adding to pressure on president bashar al assad is vulnerable. there's no quick fix. that's the problem. >> richard haass. fwraet to have you on the show.
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we'll talk about your book in a moment. it seems like it's groundhog's day. every time we get up in the morning bill kristol, john mccain and lindsay graham have a war they want us to start. i'm making it light and sarcastic because i am sarcastic about this. they always want us to go in. once we go in, it's never clear how the hell we ever get out. we're just in. your thoughts? >> robin wright said, chris, there's no quick fix to the syrian problem. i'm not even sure there's a slow fix. i actually don't think there's necessarily a fix at all. that said, we can sit here for a few minutes and talk about the down sides of all the options of doing this and that. those down sides are all too real, trust me. on the other hand, not doing anything is also a downside. it's also costly. particularly what we said. >> let's try diplomacy then.
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you've got the expertise there. put that cap on. is there any diplomatic solution that would end this war and turn it over to some sort of -- the president's still talking today about a political transition whereby the assad regime gives up, allows a transfer of authority, and somehow saves its skin, i suppose, or else why would they be in that process? is that feasible? >> no. >> okay. is there a russian escape route for them? would the russians take the assads and their large extended family? >> look, at some point it's possible things get bad enough the russians may change their policy, mr. assad may decide adasha is in his future. the rest of the alawites are probably going to stay and fight. if they didn't, all the people on the sunni side which agree on one thing, the need to get rid
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of this government, they disagree on everything else. we're going to see a prolonged civil war among these various factions. even though mr. assad is a big part of the problem, getting rid of him should not be confused with the solution. >> let's take a look at "the new york times" poll that just came out, cbs/"new york times" poll. even the idea of this war is very unpopular. this is such a simple question. does the united states have a responsibility in syria? 62% say no. 62%, no response. talk about not a tricky question. do we have any responsibility to think about going into war? on fox news this week, bill kristol, being the hawk he is, dismissed the importance of public opinion. that'll be interesting. he said the president had to do something in syria, no matter what the people think. let's watch.
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>> this is not a president who wants to start another war. that's the way he sees it. i think it's totally irresponsible for an american president to have that. no one wants to start wars, but you got to do what you got to do. doesn't matter if the public is at 39% or 16%. really? what's happening in syria is a very serious matter. >> the trouble with that thinking, i respect the fact he does think, i just disagree with him. the fact is, bill out there and others are saying it doesn't matter what the polls are. usually the polls are with the bugle callers. the polls usually say let's go to war. it's the end of the war after a couple years they say, wait a minute, that was a mistake. this time 2/3 of the people are saying, don't even think about it. your thoughts, robin? how can you fight a war when 2/3 say we don't want to get
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involved? >> president obama spent his first term getting us out of two wars, and i think he doesn't want to spend his second term getting us into one war and possibly two if iran looms large down the road as well. he understands american public opinion. we're very tired. people have economic priorities. there's a real sense we have a domestic agenda that needs to be taken care of first. and the fact is that the syrian opposition doesn't speak with one voice. we don't have a great interlocutor on the ground. and the danger is down the road iraq looks even messier than -- syria looks even messier than iraq did in terms of trying to recreate a nation. that's where we get into this problem with, you pointed out of we know how to get in but don't know how to get out. >> richard, tell me about your theory. your book is about how domestic policy really does influence ability to have foreign policy. >> let me say one thing, though, about syria, first, chris. i think there is something of an in between option.
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i think the president's moving in the right direction. i think some selective arming of the syrian opposition makes sense.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. jon stewart weighed in on what got congress moving last week to pass a bill ending the filibuster, actually sequester-related layoffs that were causing airport delays. >> why, perchance, that part of the sequester? >> a few hours after voting, members left capitol hill and headed to the airport for a week-long recess. >> oh, right. because it's the problem from the sequester that affects them. they don't care about meals on wheels unless it's rolling down an aisle. ladies and gentlemen, i take you to legislation theater. open on the house floor. what time does your plane take off? 8:00. 8:00? you better leave now. the lines are very long.
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why? you remember when we indiscriminately cut federal funding across the board because we thought that would force us to find a resolution to our budget impasse? >> oh, yeah, that's right. yeah, yeah, yeah. all right. [ bleep ] it. get me a pen. hold on. done. now let's go home. >> he is the best. i'd say he's on to something there. next, it's not exactly smooth sailing for republican governor tom corbett of pennsylvania these days. we told you yesterday about the quinnipiac poll up there showing corbett trailing all three potential 2014 democratic challengers by at least nine points. well, since corbett took office back in 2011, the state has slid from seventh in job creation across the country all the way down to 49th in job creation. the unemployment rate in pennsylvania is now higher than the national average. in an interview just yesterday, governor corbett suggested a few reasons for this including the need for better job training programs. but here's one of his reasons that stuck out. >> there are many employers that say, you know, we're looking for people, but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test.
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a lot of them. that's a concern for me. >> so that's the governor of pennsylvania saying that the unemployment rate in pennsylvania is high because a lot of pennsylvanians are high. what an amazing statement by a public official. next, house republicans are still trying to repeal it. despite almost 40 unsuccessful attempts. but as it stands now, the dust has settled and obama care is, of course, the law of the land. we all know that, right? turn now to a new survey from the kaiser family foundation. catch this. 12% of the respondents thought congress had repealed obama care. 7% said the supreme court had overturned it. another 23% just weren't sure. overall, 42% of those polled, almost half, were not aware that obama care is actually on the books. finally, i'm going to be talking later about last night's great south carolina congressional debate between mark sanford and elizabeth colbert-busch. a little preview right now. apparently sanford had unfinished business after debating, if you will, this cardboard cutout of nancy pelosi, house minority leader,
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on a street corner last week. >> nancy pelosi is running hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads. this is an important point. with all due respect to nancy pelosi, whose name i will raise again, these increasing taxes that pelosi and friends oftentimes are trying to level on them, nancy pelosi's pac, whose voice will be carried? will it be nancy pelosi's voice? >> is nancy pelosi running in south carolina? sanford mentioned pelosi over a half dozen times in that debate. we showed you most of it. we'll get back to that later. up next, the gun vote backlash. senators who voted against background checks are paying for it in the polling out there. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball." president obama didn't discuss gun safety today at his press conference, but the issue isn't going away, of course. the compromise bill on background checks with senators joe manchin and pat toomey came
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up with and the president strongly backed failed to get 60 votes in the senate. the president and many democrats blame the nra. in the "washington examiner" the other day -- was that today? political columnist tim carney said blame was misplaced in that case. instead he argues the president should point a finger at the tea party senators like ted cruz, mark lee from utah and rand paul. "the obama account is wrong in part because it portrays the nra as calling all the shots with the gop on guns, but it seems it was cruz, lee and paul who drew the line and then the nra came in to hold the line. whoever is to blame, a couple new polls show senators who opposed what was an overwhelmingly popular measure might be facing some political pushback. here's some interesting polls looking at the approval/disapproval ratings
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before and after a gun vote. according to a new ppp poll, nevada senator dean heller lost two points overall. senator mark begich of alaska down six points. his colleague in alaska lisa murkowski lost 16 points. senator rob portman of ohio lost a net of 18 points. i thought he was untouchable. according to the quinnipiac poll, senator pat toomey of pennsylvania who was the partner in the deal, picked up a net seven points since the vote. the washington examiner's tim carney is with me now. also sam stein is politics editor of "the huffington post." whatever your view, i thought your analysis was great in that column. it showed something new on the republican side. the enormous power of the hardliner, the tough guys, led by cruz, led by mike lee, and, of course, rand paul to basically draw the line.
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you cannot support expanded background checks. not at the 30-clip rounds. 30-round clips. not at the assault weapons. you can't vote for that, and that's what -- >> and it works. it's an inside/outside game. there are other groups that do this in washington, too. here you have the most conservative senators. they stand up. they take a stand. in this case, it's public letter saying we're not going to allow a vote on it. and then when senators and congressmen go back to their districts, guess what? they're hearing, wait, why aren't you standing like rand paul? why aren't you standing like ted cruz? >> they don't like that. >> it's a way of mobilizing -- >> what happened in the republican cloakroom, in the meetings, lunches they had together, according to your column, a lot of the republicans who did vote for the bill voted against background checks but
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wished they hadn't. >> they were getting upset because ted cruz brought constituent pressure on them. >> let's go back to this question here of the not gun issue. we're going to be talking about this as long as we live. to me it's all about intensity. on the liberal or centrist side, or gun safety side, whatever you want to call it, most people who are for gun safety are also for a better environment. they're also for jobs, if you will. they're also against wars. they tend to have a point of view on a lot of different issues. gun guys like my brother, one of my brothers, that's their issue. that's the voting issue. how do you beat people for whom gun rights are the only issue? >> well, that's one of the reasons you should take these polling numbers with a bit of salt. or grain of salt, i guess.
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because the intensity issue is what really matters. and so if you see jeff flake, for instance, people say well this makes me less likely to vote for him in the next election which happens to be 5 1/2 years from now. you have to ask a follow-up question. how likely are you to vote? what you get as a fact, gun enthusiasts, second amendment right enthusists are much more likely to show up at the polls than gun control advocates. >> i think that's true. by the way, there may be a pushback. here's something that happened. there was a dramatic moment just this afternoon at a town hall meeting of kelly ayotte in new hampshire. she voted against the manchin/toomey bill. you'd think she'd be safe in terms of this. today she was confronted by a relative, a daughter of one of the victims up at sandy hook.
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erica lafferty lost her mother, the principal of the school. listen to this exchange. >> you had mentioned that day, the burden on owners of gun stores that the expended background checks would cause. i'm just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the halls of her elementary school isn't as important as that? why is that not something that can be supported? >> erica, certainly let me just say that i'm obviously so sorry, and as everyone here, no matter what our views are, for what you have been through. and i think that ultimately when we look at what happened in sandy hook, i understand that's what drove this whole discussion. all of us want to make sure that that doesn't happen again. >> wonder what she meant by that. >> well, i mean -- >> what did senator ayotte mean
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when she said, i hope it doesn't happen again, and there's a daughter of one of the prime victims. >> what's your response, chris, to when somebody says, oh, there was a bombing and muslims did it. and somebody -- and a lawmaker who doesn't want to, you know, crack down on civil liberties or doesn't want to go to war in the muslim world says i want to make sure this doesn't happen again. just because there's a victim who wants a direct response doesn't mean that is a correct policy. >> the reason in this case was, i know there are a lot of factors up there, mental, emotional disturbance to put it lightly on the case of the shooter. also the fact that one of the reasons that we might have dangerous situations is guns getting in the hands of people like that. obviously here is a case of a guy who shot his mother in the
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face and got the guns from her. but the more common case would be someone like that trying to get a gun. here was the people of this country in a reasonable response to this crime saying, why don't we make it harder for people with mental and emotional problems to get guns, better background checks? i think that was a reasonable response. >> i think the senator is wrong weigh you down?
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by contrast, the republican field is muddled with marco rubio getting 18%. chris christie of new jersey in second at 16%. jeb bush, whose own mother doesn't want him to run, is up at 14%. that's all for him. rick santorum, pretty far down at 9%. pretty strong showing for rick. we'll be right back.
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we're back with two big political stories today. massachusetts democrats are choosing a nominee to fill john kerry's senate seat. and u.s. congressman ed markey looks like the big favorite tonight. the other big story is the special house election in south carolina between elizabeth colbert-busch and mark sanford. the election is just one week away from today. it's next tuesday, in fact. last night the two of them met in their first and only debate. but to no one's surprise, it didn't take long for colbert busch to bring up the thing sanford is best known for, his extramarital affair. >> when we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about protecting the taxpayers, it doesn't mean you take that money we saved and leave the country for a personal purpose. >> she went there, governor
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sanchez. >> i couldn't hear what she said. >> okay. hogan, this is your home territory politically. first of all, sanford had to know this kind of attack was coming. let's show his retort. it was pretty good. listen how he carries the question about his affair. >> you voted for the defense of marriage act and to impeach president clinton for an extra marital affair. would you vote those ways again? >> well, i -- i -- i would reverse the question to you. and i would say this: do you think that president clinton should be condemned the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life? >> well, hogan that, got a bit of applause there. i guess people are fair minded. he voted to impeach president clinton and take him basically from office, removing his political career and his public career from existence pretty
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much. i think that was a pretty strong sanction. and now for him to come back and say he should win this house race as some sort of, what, reward? what's his argument there? >> i didn't get the retort. i mean, i understand, look, you have to be able to separate a vote for somebody and forgiveness over an indiscretion. we forgive mark sanford, not because mark sanford to but because if you're a christian christ calls you to. that doesn't mean i want him representing me nationally pip point of bill clinton is that's fine, i've forgiven bill clinton, too. he was my governor before he was your president. the fact of the matter is i still didn't want him being president after that interdent. mark is having a lot of problems down here. i don't think there's a big shift in the belief of the electorate toward something colbert-bush is doing.
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i don't necessarily want to put my name or neck on the line for a guy who really did a poor job of shepherding his personally or his professional life as governor. >> it's a strange thing, ron, trying to figure out how the voters go on this thing. you had witter in louisiana involved in professional sex workers, in d.c. and voters like him. they're talking about him for governor. in nevada it's legal to have those businesses out there, sex workers. and poor john gets picked out of politics. what are the rules, as bill maher would say, what are the new rules these days in. >> i don't know about david witter, but it seems to me that mark sanford's issue here has always been one of character. and the perception and a well-founded one that he's a little unstable and flakey. the one where he was debating the card board cutout of nancy
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pelosi and the phone number business, releasing his phone number and all of that kind of stuff. but, you know, as colbert-bush alluded to was that he left the governor's office without telling anybody where he was going, took taxpayer money and took off to argentina with his girl friend. he alluded to that last night in the debate as "something that had happened to him." now, a meteor crashes through your roof, that's something that happens to you. this is an entirely different category. >> you mean mistakes were made -- >> the voters of south carolina are left to choose between the delusional narcissist on the one hand and a democrat on the other so it could be a toss-up. >> we'll be back with more of that racy race in south carolina.
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welcome back to "hardball." democrats are voting in a primary to fill senator john kerry's seat. according to a recent ppp poll, senator markey has a lead. we have spitzer involved with a hooker, a prostitute, you've gone weiner doing something out there on the social media, you've got mcgreevey involved with a a marriage that didn't quite make sense, john edwards involved, you you've got witter. why what is the deal? why do we forgive some of these
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guys and not others? >> i think we're prone to forgiving people who just committed a sexual indiscretion. but when you take taxpayers' money and you leave -- imagine for a moment that bill clinton, for instance, didn't just have an affair with monica lewinsky, which he never left the white house, by the way, to consummate, instead me disappeared from the white house for a weeks are didn't tell his staff, didn't tell his family, just disappeared and we found out he had taken taxpayer money and shown up with uruguay -- >> that's an ingenious exoneration, didn't leave the place. we'll have you back. >> all in -- "all in with chris hayes" start right now. good evening. from new york i'm chris hayes. thank you for joining us. truly amazing stuff to cover tonight. how wild conspiracies are
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causing an absolute gun frenzy in this country and how washington politicians are legitimizing them. and a state so out of control, citizens are willing to go to jail to protest the laws. you might remember this bit of comedy from the white house correspondents dinner on saturday night when president obama joked about the criticism of not working with republicans more. >> maureen dowd said i could solve all my problems if i were just more like michael douglas good evening. from new york i'm chris hayes. thank you for joining us. truly amazing stuff to cover tonight. how wild conspiracies are causing an absolute gun frenzy in this country and how washington politicians are legitimizing them. and a state so out of control, citizens are willing to go to jail to protest the laws. you might remember this bit of comedy from the white house correspondents dinner on saturday night when president obama joked about the criticism of not working with republicans more. >> maureen dowd said i could solve all my problems if i were just more like michael douglas